What to look for in affiliate tracking software?

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Accurately attributing conversions to your affiliate clicks has its challenges. That’s because the conversions are happening on your advertisers’ website but the clicks on your own. Affiliate tracking software tackles this challenge but…

You need to know how to choose the right one for your affiliate business.

What should you look for in affiliate tracking software?

That’s what we answer in this article.

What is affiliate tracking software?

Affiliate tracking software shows you what the results of your affiliate activities are. It’s your go to platform if you’re serious about growing your affiliate business.

No matter how great your setup is with Google Analytics, network dashboards, and native advertising platforms, you still miss a ton of data that gets lost in the tracking process. Some of it is because of the stricter GDPR regulations. Other because of the limited options these tools have.

For example, no affiliate network shows you page views. They show you conversions. If you’re using several networks you need to figure out where and how they show your conversions. 

Aggregate the data from all your networks to find out what content performs the best. Match the findings with your own Google Analytics reports and you can get somewhat close to useful insights. But you still won’t get a full overview.

The more content and writers you’re managing the harder it gets to have an overview of everything.

If you’re serious about your affiliate growth you need an affiliate tracking software.

Key things to look for in affiliate tracking software

Easy affiliate tracking

It should be easy to use the affiliate tracking software. 

Imagine you lead a content writers team who are amazing at writing engaging and fun content. But are not the most affiliate savvy. It might be your or your affiliate team’s responsibility to insert the affiliate links into articles and make sure you can accurately track and attribute clicks to conversions. 

The software needs to make it easy for you to set up the tracking without risking your clicks and conversions getting lost in the sea of unknown data. It needs to be easy. Accurate. Fast.

Detailed reporting

The affiliate tracking software needs to let you create detailed reports on what generates the best results from all the networks and partners. Reports like what page, network, advertiser, and traffic channel generate the best conversions. The tool needs to let you measure all these sources along with KPIs.

The fundamental KPIs for you to measure are total commissions, click commissions, conversion commissions, conversions, clicks, conversion rate, CTR, and page views. 

If the tool provides real time data for a specific date, network, advertiser, campaign, page, channel, or SubID, it’s definitely worth keeping.

It’s quite a lot of things to keep an eye on. That’s why the ease of use is the first variable. It’s up to the software to make it easy for you to find all this data, and present it in a practical way that doesn’t give you a headache just by looking at it. A great affiliate tracking tool should be something you’re always eager to open and use to monitor your affiliate activities in real time.

affiliate tracking software detailed reporting

Suggesting you new opportunities to scale

The affiliate tracking software should let you expand to multiple partners and networks. Even better if you get to connect to partners and networks with higher commissions. Not every tool lets you see what partners and networks you can connect to. Let alone show you the estimated growth. 

It’s a big plus to know you can expand to a new affiliate network with the estimated clicks you can immediately start generating.

It’s extra beneficial if your website already sends valuable traffic to an advertiser you’re not connected to yet. Seeing how many clicks you can generate with the new network gives you a better idea of the potential ROI. With the estimation, you can make data-based decisions and arguments for expanding to this new network.

Safe to use – GDPR compliant

Attributing affiliate sales gets harder and harder while staying GDPR compliant. It’s double the trouble for publishers and advertisers in the EU where tracking policies are strict. Not only the tracking tool needs to be GDPR compliant, it needs to be flexible in its ways to accommodate your, or your advertisers’ requirements for safety policies.

Automating manual tasks

A key to successful affiliate growth is to automate any task that can be automated, giving you back the time you spend on manual work. That goes for manually tracking your performance data, creating your affiliate links or tagging your links with tracking parameters.

What does the link automation look like?

Link automation works like a real-time look up to see if an affiliate campaign exists and if you’re connected to the campaign. When both conditions are true the tracking software forms an affiliate URL. Any visitor who clicks on this URL is automatically tagged with your tracker to make the sales attribution possible.

The affiliate tracking software and the affiliate network share the information through Postbacks URL. It’s one of the safest, and most accurate affiliate tracking methods out there.

Applying tags to your affiliate links should be a breeze. It’s not just about adding sponsored or no-follow tags, but also conversion tags that provide crucial insights into your conversions’ origin and destination. This information allows you to conduct cross-channel attribution, generate product-level reports, and collaborate with third-party feed partners. So, make sure your affiliate marketing tool offers an easy tagging process to gain a deeper understanding of your performance.

Full picture of your conversions journey

The biggest obstacle in affiliate tracking is the fact that conversions happen on a website you don’t own. You don’t see the whole conversion funnel which makes attribution a nightmare. Same goes for advertisers. They don’t see what’s happening on your website which generates clicks for them.

And so the whole sales attribution nightmare starts.

The attribution models are based either on the first or last click. The last click attribution is the preferred way for many advertisers.

Nobody gets full visibility and affiliate optimisation becomes a guesswork. That’s why your affiliate tracking software should give you full visibility of the conversion journey. And if you work directly with affiliate partners you both should view the same IMPARTIAL data. Then both of you can optimise the hack out of affiliate campaigns.

affiliate tracking conversion journey


What is affiliate tracking software?

Affiliate tracking software aggregates data from multiple networks, partners and sources in one platform. It overcomes the limitations of native platforms like Google Analytics and affiliate network dashboards.

Key things to look for in affiliate tracking software

  • Easy affiliate tracking – simplifies the process of setting up tracking for affiliate links, ensuring accurate attribution and preventing data loss, making it valuable for content writers and teams.
  • Detailed reporting – offers valuable insights into performance metrics, enabling you to monitor and optimize their affiliate activities effectively.
  • Suggesting you new opportunities to scale – scaling by connecting to additional partners and networks, including those offering higher commissions.
  • Safe to use – needs to be GDPR compliant.
  • Automating manual tasks – performance tracking, affiliate link creation, and tagging, allowing publishers to optimise workflows.
  • Full picture of your conversions journey – know exactly where your conversions come from.